The Old Country Store Logo
The Old Country Store Fabrics Home

Directions and Hours
Contact Us
Find us on Facebook!
The Old Country Store Banner

Meet the Teachers

Marcia Nissley

Sewing Class Coordinator

Marcia began her sewing hobby as a young girl while learning, under her mother’s supervision, how to sew her own dresses. Today, her interests are less in making garments, and are more in sewing quilts and other home décor.

Marcia finds her inspiration from reading quilting blogs and following trends on Pinterest. She gravitates toward more modern designs with fields of white amidst bright patches of color. That said, there’s still a place in her heart for traditional quilts and vintage finds. “I love to scour yard sales and thrift stores for other people’s textile castoffs!” she says.

Having worked at the Store off and on since 1997, Marcia’s responsibilities include quilt book, pattern, and kit buying. She’s excited about her new role as Sewing Class Coordinator. “One of my favorite things about working in the Store is helping fabric customers pull together everything they need for a project, so working with teachers and class attendees to inspire creativity in sewing classes is an awesome opportunity!”

Jody Beck

Jody began quilting in 2000, and by 2003 she began publishing her quilt patterns as Jody’s Jems.

She responded to requests to teach her techniques, and is now possibly best-known for her Stack and Slash pattern, “which is for quilters who like unplanned projects,” compared to the pattern’s popular cousin, the Stack and Whack pattern which she labels “for perfect people.”

A good day for Jody includes quilting with friends or traveling to Lancaster’s Green Dragon with her husband, Jim.

Jody and Jim live in Pottstown, PA, where she is also involved in teaching Precepts for Life Bible studies and leading a weekly Moms in Prayer group.

Karen Boyd

For most of Karen’s adult life, she has been a teacher. She started as a Biology major, but later shifted to Education and a career in teaching many subjects, in many venues, for many decades.

Karen has always had the desire to sew, starting with doll clothes, then a gathered skirt which led to sewing other clothing on her mother’s Singer 15-90. Eventually Karen got her first BERNINA and wondered how she had been able to sew anything without it!

Karen had interest in quilts, but feared the fussy work required until she read about Seminole quilting and gave piecing a try. From Public Television, Karen learned about rotary cutters and strip piecing, and her husband reluctantly learned the meaning of “Fabric Stash!”

About 10 years ago, Karen acquired a serger which she found saves time and produces a nicer project than a regular sewing machine. She now teaches serging techniques to others. Karen’s newest BERNINA includes a Stitch Regulator, and she enjoys free motion quilting and teaching others ways to make beautiful quilts without stressing over perfection.

Karen married her high school sweetheart, David. They are blessed with two adult children, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.

Doreen Brannan

Doreen has been making crafts as far back as she can remember. Making her own clothes in high school Home Economics class was just the beginning! Now, many years later, Doreen creates treasures by recycling thrifted clothing and housewares, always with a vision beyond the obvious.

She enjoys rug hooking, punch needle, primitive dolls, and cross stitch, but her favorite craft is wool applique because she can relax on the couch as she stitches. Doreen calls it “stitching therapy.” Who wouldn’t enjoy that!?

Doreen’s classes will include tips on how to craft on a budget and where to find the best bargains.

Mary Alice Fyock

Mary Alice began her interest in fabrics as an eight-year-old involved in 4-H. That interest evolved into an education career, teaching sewing and tailoring, fitting, serger techniques, embroidery, software, and quilting.

Mary Alice lives with her husband on a Century Farm near Lititz. Together they enjoy hiking, biking, and taking “walking” vacations around the world.

At home, Mary Alice enjoys working in her vegetable and flower gardens, cooking, knitting, reading, and passing on her love of “creating” to her seven wonderful grandchildren. Her latest passion is digitizing appliquéd children’s quilts.

Donna Groff

Donna loves to sew and embroider small projects and has sewn the project samples, led the Embroidery Club, and taught other classes for Hinkletown Sewing for the past 15 years.

Donna likes to spend time sewing charity projects with friends. They have made walker bags for local retirement homes, pillows for breast cancer patients, pillowcase dresses to send to orphanages in other countries, and many other worthy projects.

After 42 years in their first home, Donna and her husband, John, recently designed, built, and moved into a new home just outside of New Holland, PA. “It was quite a project,” Donna says, “but the large, bright sewing room with a great view of the countryside was worth it!”

Donna and John enjoy travelling (especially to the Bernina factories in Switzerland and Thailand) and watching their great-nephews race stock cars.

John Groff

After selling the family steel and recycling business, followed by a short period in retirement, John began working part time for Bernina of America and Hinkletown Sewing. Over time his work load with Hinkletown Sewing continued to grow and he stopped traveling to quilt shows for Bernina. Today he continues to manage special events, provide software support, and oversee other computer related projects for Hinkletown Sewing.

John enjoys traveling to Bernina University each year for Hinkletown Sewing and has traveled to the Bernina factories in Switzerland and Thailand. But most of all he enjoys working with the Zimmerman family and all the great Hinkletown Sewing customers.

In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and working on dirt track race cars as a chassis tech.

Ruth Ann Gingrich

For many years, Ruth Ann selected quilts to sell in the Store and oversaw production of our signature kits. More recently she teaches classes and is responsible for making pattern and kit samples to display in the Store.

Ruth Ann’s a well-seasoned seamstress with years of experience sewing clothing for her family, participating in her church sewing circle, and making quilts for grandchildren.

Ruth Ann and her husband, Carl, like to go to the mountains, take bus trips, do volunteer work, and spend time with their granddaughters.

Cheryl Hank

Cheryl grew up in the small town of Nazareth, PA, where she sewed her own clothing, crafted, and crocheted afghans and scarves for friends and family. Her aunt taught her to use fabric paint and stencils before hand-quilting around her designs to make pillows.

Cheryl’s family loved Lancaster County and would take summer trips to the area. Cheryl always wanted to make quilts like the ones she saw in Lancaster County, so finally in 2002, after her daughters were grown, she took her first class and was immediately hooked. Since then, her journey has allowed her to explore different areas of quilting. “I love quilting for my grandchildren (three grandsons and a granddaughter) and my daughters, family, and friends,” Cheryl says.

In 2007, Cheryl began teaching at a quilt shop in Weissport, PA, and in 2010 she began quilt retreats, both great opportunities to meet new students and sharing her love of quilting with them. Cheryl became a certified Quilt in a Day instructor under the direction of Eleanor Burns and Sue Burchard (Paducah, KY) in 2011.

Cheryl now lives in Palmerton, PA with her husband and her quilt-loving cats.

Andrea Hoke

Andrea has been sewing ever since she was a little girl. Fortunate to have a mother who was a Home Economics teacher, she learned to sew and do needlework at a very young age. She grew up sewing her own clothes, participating in 4-H club, and entering her creations in the local county fair.

A Sampler Quilt class in 1991 awakened Andrea’s love of quilting, and she has been stitching quilts ever since. She enjoys all forms of quilting, including hand and machine piecing, appliqué, and hand and machine quilting. She has entered her quilts in the Elizabethtown Fair almost every year for the past 25 years.

“Modern Traditionalist” best describes Andrea’s style. She loves all things vintage, which is reflected in her work. The exploding online quilting community has only fueled her passion for quilting, and as a result, she has “more quilts in her brain than she will be ever be able to stitch in this lifetime!” Andrea enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience and delights in introducing sewing and quilting to others.

Andrea lives in Elizabethtown, PA and also enjoys cooking, gardening and blogging.

Carol Landis

Carol’s daily work includes helping her husband, Les, on their dairy farm near Quarryville, PA. “My fun work, however, is sewing!” she is quick to note.

Many years ago Carol spent time sewing clothing for her young family, but today she prefers making quilts and keeping her 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren well supplied in finished pieces.

Carol runs miles of thread through her two Bernina sewing machines, a 730 and 830, and her latest self-taught sewing love is paper-pieced quilting.

In addition to sewing rag quilts, some to sell and others to give away, Carol likes to bake (desserts are her specialty) and cook.

Carol Martin

Carol’s earliest memories of quilts involve playing under the quilt frame while her Grandma was quilting, and being thrilled when the collection of heirloom quilts was taken out of storage to be shown to guests. Carol’s mother taught her how to sew her own clothing, but she learned to quilt while working at The Old Country Store. In turn, she had the privilege of teaching her mother how to quilt.

“My passion in quilting is collecting antique fabric, preferably late 19th century fabrics, and creating miniature quilts. I love the challenge of taking a large quilt block pattern and resizing it into a smaller block,” says Carol. When she is not sewing with antique fabrics, she is dipping into her stash of reproduction Civil War fabrics.

Currently, Carol is employed as a care giver for senior citizens in their homes. Her hobbies, in addition to quilting, are nature photography, working in her flower gardens and motorcycle riding with her husband.

Jan Mast

Jan July 2015

Jan, like so many others, began sewing doll clothes at a young age. Her mother and two older sisters fueled her curiosity and creativity, encouraging her to enter Sewing 4-H and submit completed craft and sewing projects to the local farmers’ fairs.

She graduated from sewing doll clothes to making clothing for herself, and later, for her children. More recently her projects are less garment-oriented and are more patchwork and quilt-inspired.

“I have always loved creating things with my hands, imagining ways to put color and texture together, and marrying traditional craft with modern technique. Owning the Store, buying fabric for both the “bricks” and “clicks” stores, and relating local quilters and crafters is a dream job!” she shares.

Jan and her husband Dean, owners of The Old Country Store, live in Smoketown, PA. They share a rivalry in Scrabble and enjoy flower gardening together. Their three daughters also caught the sewing bug and give Jan’s two Bernina machines a real workout!

Mary Jane Miller

As a young girl, Mary Jane learned her sewing skills from her mother and sister, making clothing both for herself and her mother. Her love of fabrics grew as she began quilting with her sister, and later as she took numerous quilting classes with Carol Blevins, well-known teacher from York, PA.

In 2002, Mary Jane began teaching quilting, appliqué, and craft classes. Besides quilting, she enjoys doing all types of fiber arts- especially wool appliqué, embroidery, needle felting, and rug hooking. Mary Jane also enjoys making folk-art pincushions and “make-dos” with the endless variety of woolen fabrics available to artisans. Many of her woolen folk-art pieces are for sale at The Old Country Store.

Mary Jane lives with her husband, Taylor, and their Brittany Spaniel dog, Edison, in York, PA, where she is also an organist and choir director at Heidelberg United Church of Christ.

Christine Morgan

Christine Morgan

Christine is best known for her layered and slashed fabric art. This labor- and materials- intensive technique evolved after 30 years of traditional quiltmaking, when Christine was commissioned to create a wall quilt for an office with acoustical problems.

She experimented with layering a variety of mediums and was pleased both with the results and captivated by the endless possibilities for effect, texture, and depth of color.

“I think the finished product is worth the effort, and I am confident I will be content to explore this medium for many years to come,” she writes.

Christine creates quilts, pillows, and wall art based on the technique promoted in her book, Stacked & Stitched (AQS Publishing 2012). Her work can be purchased at City Folk, Lancaster, PA.

In her spare time, Christine like to read, especially non-fiction, and spends two hours each day walking her beloved dog, Buddy, in the woods and along the Pequea Creek, near her home.

Sherry Musselman

Sherry learned to sew in Home Economics Class in High School. She made clothing for herself and family members. In nursing school, her interest in quilting was piqued when she learned to hand quilt at a friend’s house. After retiring from nursing, Sherry returned to her first love of sewing and finally learned to quilt. She enjoys sharing her craft with others.

Sherry and her husband, John, enjoy traveling, watching old movies, and exploring quilts shops and bookstores. She also leads a Bible Study group at her church.

Sally Rapp

Sally has had a needle in her hand since she was in elementary school. She started with simple embroidery, but by junior high school she was sewing much of her own clothing. In 1976, bi-centennial year celebrations piqued her interest in doing patchwork and quilting.

Since that time, Sally has taken many classes from nationally known teachers. She has also taught quilting classes for quilt shops, evening schools, and quilt guilds.

Shortly after her retirement from secretarial work, Sally and her husband, Fran, chose to move to Garden Spot Village in New Holland She has an active lifestyle in the community, enjoying casual bike riding, ringing hand bells, taking bus trips, and of course, teaching quilting. Sally and Fran have two adult children and five grandchildren.

Almyra Webb

Almyra Webb began sewing at the age of 12 when her grandmother bought her a Singer sewing machine. She enjoyed making her clothing and designing new outfits by adapting patterns. After many years of sewing for her daughters, Almyra began sewing clothing for her five grandchildren.

When the children grew up, Almyra began investigating the home embroidery market in 1994. Eventually her interest turned to quilting, but she was discouraged by how painful her hands became after hours of cutting, matching, and pinning small pieces of fabric.

Upon discovering the foundation paper piecing method of quilting, Almyra was immediately hooked. She has made over 100 quilts and nearly all have been paper pieced. Almyra has adapted many traditional patterns into paper piecing designs, and she enjoys teaching new quilters the joy of paper piecing. Almyra has taught classes in North Carolina, Tennessee and local shops in the Lancaster area.

Houa Yang

Houa’s cultural tradition (Hmong) includes highly-detailed reverse applique on both clothing and crafts. She says her mother gets credit for teaching her good needlework skills at a young age.

For the past 25 years Houa has gained respect in Lancaster County for her traditional applique designs, and her work appears on many quilts sold in the area.

While her appliqueing business consumes much of her time, Houa recently made an effort to start making some quilts and wall art for herself, in order to avoid the old adage, “Quilters don’t own quilts.” Her favorite motifs for the projects she keeps are inspired by designers Kim Diehl and Jo Morton.

Houa and her husband are parents to a son who is a college graduate and a daughter who is in elementary school. She loves to cook and is actively involved in children’s ministry at the Hmong Alliance Church.

Lois Zimmerman

Lois grew up on a farm in eastern Lancaster County and has had the privilege of raising her own family while living on that same homestead. She and her husband, Elmer, parented four children and now enjoy grandparenting.

Elmer pastors at Blue Ball Mennonite Church, where Lois offers her hand-quilting skills at their women’s sewing circle. Her other hobbies include cooking, camping, and “anything involving people—be it family or friends,” says Lois.

Lois has spent the past 30 years doing sewing alterations. She mends, alters, or fixes anything that can be sewn—clothes, gowns, curtains, bags, and bedding. “Ever since I was a child, I loved ripping clothes apart! It sounds crazy, and it drove my mother crazy, but I never took anything apart that I wasn’t able to put back together,” she says.

There are four Bernina machines in Lois’ sewing room, and she claims she “needs each one!”

This page copyrighted © 2017 by The Old Country Store